A Gentleman’s View of the Lake District
Legendary Welsh actor Sir Anthony Hopkins (CBE) couldn’t resist sharing a couple of relaxed snaps on Twitter of his visit to the Lake District this week. And who could blame him.
Hopkins is best known for the lead role of Hannibal Lecter in the multi-Academy Award winning film Silence of the Lambs, but lesser known for his canvas artwork, of which he is finding more time to work on these days as he attempts to retire from the screen.
And the magic of the Lake District, that has been inspiring artists since the 19th century, is certainly the place to be to find inspiration.
This week Hopkins has enjoyed a “Magic Monday”, as he says in his first Tweet: “Beautiful England… #LakeDistrict #Magic #Monday.” The accompanying photo captures a very relaxed looking actor, considering the view from Claife Viewing Station, overlooking Lake Windermere and far away from the villainous world of American thriller series Westworld, in which he has most recently starred.
Flair in the Lake District
Dressed in debonair flat cap and loosely tied dress scarf, the Twitter comment that accompanies a second snap from the elegantly-dressed actor says that he is feeling #INSPIRED during his visit to the Lakes. You can see the delightfully inspiring Lake Windermere in the background, as well as a scattering of Autumnal colour from the lakeside garden he is standing in.
“The Lake District has been a huge influence on some of England’s best known writers,” writes Hopkins to his 141K Twitter followers and commits some of the country’s leading writers to hashtags: “#WilliamWordsworth #SamuelColeridge #ThomasDeQuincey #JohnRuskin”.
Inspiring Views in the Lake District
Seeing this acclaimed artist looking out from the practical Victorian viewing station on Windermere got us thinking about the top places in the Lake District for quiet contemplation and inspiration. Here we take a look at some of the region’s best places to visit where you can follow in the remarkable footsteps of some of the very greatest minds in English art and literature. These are quiet spaces, for contemplating and art creation.
- Holehird Gardens, Lake Windermere
Whilst this stately house sits just outside the bustling town of Windermere, the 10 acre garden, with million dollar views onto Lake Windermere, are the Oxford and Cambridge of the plant world!
It is only the gardens that are open to the public, and they have been home to the learnings of the Lakeland Horticultural Society since 1969. Holehird Garden is a living hotbed of gardening knowledge. Run entirely by well-read volunteers, if you visit on any given Wednesday from May to September you can quiz the cultivated gardener on all your gardening conundrums during a tour.
These incredible volunteer gardeners at Holehird Garden manage four National Plant Collections – Astilbe, Meconopsis, Daboecia and Polystich, and the house library, used by the Society members, is one of the best-stocked horticultural reference libraries in the north of England. So, if you’re wanting advice on hardy perennials or how to achieve Autumn colour, then this is the place to visit.
Alternatively, bring your sketch pad and some colours and find inspiration in the flora and fauna, just as Beatrix Potter used to do during her summer holiday visits to Holehird. This is an exceptionally well maintained and designed garden and so ideal for seeking inspiration and contemplation all year round.
- Lingholme Estate, Derwent Water
“One autumn when the nuts were ripe, and the leaves on the hazel bushes were golden and green—Nutkin and Twinkleberry and all the other little squirrels came out of the wood, and down to the edge of the lake.
They made little rafts out of twigs, and they paddled away over the water to Owl Island to gather nuts.
Each squirrel had a little sack and a large oar, and spread out his tail for a sail.”
This quote is from The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin, which is part of the Peter Rabbit and Other Stories series of children’s books by Beatrix Potter. And what a composed scene the author paints here. This image is one that can only be conjured up from a tranquil landscape, where the imagination is left to wonder, uninterrupted.
And this is what is on offer at the little-known Lingholme Estate on the western shore of Derwentwater.
Derwentwater, in the north Lake District, with its scattering of islands, is a very pretty and low-profile scene that was enjoyed by Beatrix Potter from the shore of the Lingholme Estate where she holidayed. Located only a ten minute stroll from the small market town of Keswick and just down from the Portinscale marina, is this small, traditional country estate.
Aside from enjoying the shoreside walk taking and the tranquil Derwentwater setting, from the Lingholme Kitchen cafe (Taste Cumbria Award 2017 Finalist) you can gaze across the Octagonal walled garden, the inspiration for Mr McGregor’s garden in The Tale of Peter Rabbit, and up to Skiddaw. The creative juices will be flowing.
Leave in style via the Keswick Launch from the Lingholme garden jetty, where you can draw upon more of the quiet northern Lake District’s charm.
- Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House, Bwoness-on-Windermere
This mountain holiday home and gardens, 1.5 miles south of Bowness, was built for a very highly esteemed 19th century businessman and politician, Sir Edward Holt of the Manchester Brewery dynasty.
Built in 1898–1900 by one of the leading Arts & crafts architects of the time, Blackwell is unique in that you are welcomed to sit by the inglenook fireplace or within the inviting window seats, offering time for reflection and contemplation in this unique time-capsule.
As one of the best preserved examples of the late 19th century resurgence of hand-made crafts, it is impossible not to be inspired by the detailed workmanship that is “woven into the fabric of the historic building rather than being ‘applied’ simply as decoration.”
Relax in the café garden furniture on the stone-slabbed terrace below the ‘ha ha’, separating the south-facing garden from the lower garden, to take in view across the garden to Lake Windermere.
Whilst these Lake District attractions do offer the walks and views that the region is so famed for, it is the quiet pace of these genteel spots that we invite you to indulge in. Linger over the famous Handkerchief Tree at Holehird and enjoy the relaxation of travelling leisurely via lake steamers and cruise boats. We hope you find your ‘Magic Monday’ in the Lake District.